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Great Owner Operators for the Long Term


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The great owner-operators with tremendous capital allocation skills have delivered great returns over the years.  Investing in the best have made many people reliably rich.

 

(In a way this is a bit like reframing the question of who is the next WEB.)

 

So in the major leagues (really the hall of fame) we have:

 

WEB

Singleton

Malone

 

Any nominations coming up from the minor leagues?

 

I nominate Brian Dalton. ( more than 10 years of 20%)

 

Others??

 

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Some possible candidates:

Bill Gates - no longer a CEO

*David Zaslav / Discovery (DISCA)

*Michael Fries / LBTYA

*Tom Rutledge / Charter

Richard Kinder / Kinder Morgan (KMI)

Bill Erbey / ASPS and AAMC

*Brett Roberts / Credit Acceptance

Stanley Ma / MTY Food Group

Murray Stahl / FRMO

*Michael Fifer / Ruger

 

Retail:

*Christine Day / former CEO of Lululemon

*Bob Sasser / Dollar Tree

Carol Meyrowitz / TJX

*Allen Questrom

*Mickey Drexler

 

* = Doesn't fulfill owner operator criteria.

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I would suggest that by the time you identify great owner operators you are unlikely to make money investing along side them. Merely because unlike them you normally don't get the opportunity to invest at book.

 

I don't think this claim has a factual basis. For one thing, you do get to invest at book (retained earnings). Over the life of a great company, the retained earnings will be much higher than the initial book value.

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I would suggest that by the time you identify great owner operators you are unlikely to make money investing along side them. Merely because unlike them you normally don't get the opportunity to invest at book.

 

I don't think this claim has a factual basis. For one thing, you do get to invest at book (retained earnings). Over the life of a great company, the retained earnings will be much higher than the initial book value.

 

There are all kinds of structural factors too. Murray Stahl has tons and tons of pieces on owner operators explaining why the market constantly undervalues these companies.

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Jeff Bezos

Mark Zuckerberg

Phil Knight

 

Zuckerberg? I doubt in 10 years Facebook will be relevant. It is no longer hip or cool (or whatever term kids use these days).  i watched an interesting interview where they interviewed three teenagers - the response was Facebook is what my parents use.  I just don't see it lasting the way Amazon or Google will....

 

cheers

Zorro

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Zuckerberg? I doubt in 10 years Facebook will be relevant. It is no longer hip or cool (or whatever term kids use these days).  i watched an interesting interview where they interviewed three teenagers - the response was Facebook is what my parents use.  I just don't see it lasting the way Amazon or Google will....

 

 

What do you think will replace it?

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Zuckerberg? I doubt in 10 years Facebook will be relevant. It is no longer hip or cool (or whatever term kids use these days).  i watched an interesting interview where they interviewed three teenagers - the response was Facebook is what my parents use.  I just don't see it lasting the way Amazon or Google will....

 

 

What do you think will replace it?

 

If I Zorrofan knows that, then he'd be busy creating it.  Or at the very least investing in it. And I doubt he'd share it with us yet.

 

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Guest longinvestor

What exactly is "long term" in the title of this thread? 10, 20....50 years?

 

Actually, some of the greatest owner operators are amongst the BRK operating companies. Here, long term takes on a new meaning, longer than their own lifetimes. Now, that is long term. Walter Scott, Eitan Wertheimer, Rose Blumkin, Clayton et al.

 

 

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Good call on Stanley Ma.  Amazing track record in highly fragmented industry. Stock is never reasonable though...

 

There were a few years when the company was buying back shares and Stanley Ma had bought a huge chunk of the company.  The stock went up around 100X (yes, one hundred).

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Zuckerberg? I doubt in 10 years Facebook will be relevant. It is no longer hip or cool (or whatever term kids use these days).  i watched an interesting interview where they interviewed three teenagers - the response was Facebook is what my parents use.  I just don't see it lasting the way Amazon or Google will....

 

 

What do you think will replace it?

 

If I Zorrofan knows that, then he'd be busy creating it.  Or at the very least investing in it. And I doubt he'd share it with us yet.

 

I wish I had invented it - but the teenagers they interviewed on the show said that they and all of their friends were using Snapchat......my point is that it is way too early to put Zuckerberg in with the likes of WEB.

 

cheers

Zorro

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  • 10 months later...

Additions to the list with caveats:

 

  • Leonard at Constellation Software (CSU): the stock is expensive and he is reducing his workload.
     
  • honorable mention for Don Graham at Graham Holdings (GHC) He seems to be in a slow motion liquidation.

 

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Guest notorious546

I've attached an commentary that aligns well with this view point from QV Investors. These guys are an value oriented group of funds run out of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

 

Commentary.pdf

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